1 Oct – It has been a while since we've heard from Malaysian filmmaker Edmund Yeo whose film "The Floating Sun" was featured in James Lee's omnibus short film, "3 Doors Of Horrors" last year, but now the budding filmmaker has a new feature out that's set to compete in Tokyo this October.
The 30-year-old's feature film debut, "River of Exploding Durians" has been selected to compete against 14 other titles from filmmakers around the world at the prestigious Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) that will be held at Roppongi Hills, Tokyo from 23 to 31 October.
Selected among 1,373 entries from 92 countries, the film will also be making its world premiere on 24 October as it joins films from Japan, U.S. France and more to vie for the USD50,000 Sakura Grand Prix prize.
The competition will be judged by a jury panel headed by "Guardians Of The Galaxy" director James Gunn.
Shot over a period of 17 days spanning two months, "River of Exploding Durians" is a tale of Malaysian history and its youth, where people are enveloped by sadness and politics while searching for love.
According to Yeo, the story was inspired by the real-life Lynas rare earth plant controversy, for which Yeo portrayed via the lives of Form 6 students in his film.
The film stars Koe Shern (Best Actor for 2013's BMW Shorties), Joey Leong, Daphne Low and Taiwanese actress Zhu Zhi-Ying ("Lust, Caution" and "A Complicated Story".)
On being nominated, Yeo told Cinema Online, "it just blew my mind when I found out that "River of Exploding Durians" was chosen for main competition. It's my feature film debut, I'm just a new director, never in my wildest dreams would I ever imagine that my film would end up becoming the first ever Malaysian film to get into the main competition section."
For the time being, Yeo is still working towards getting his film to screen in Malaysia.
Another local movie that will also be making its premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival, is Nik Amir Mustapha's "Terbaik Dari Langit" which is retitled as "Nova" for Japan audiences.
Among the highlights of the Tokyo International Film Festival this year is its homage to animation which will see the festival open with Walt Disney's "Big Hero 6" and close with Takashi Yamazaki's "Parasyte".
The will also be an animation showcase from famed animator Hideaki Anno, the apprentice of Hayao Miyazaki ("Spirited Away") who has gone on to work in over 50 productions.
This year will also introduce the Samurai Award where recipients Tim Burton and Takeshi Kitano are expected to attend.